Showing posts with label Eureka Springs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eureka Springs. Show all posts

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Future Perfect Tense

I will have returned to Eureka Springs Arkansas sometime before my death.  That much is certain, unless death comes suddenly and surprisingly.  However, even so, perhaps even then, I will have returned to Eureka Springs after my death.  All the best ghosts do you know after all it is the most haunted place in America, so the tour guides say.

Be that as it may, I returned today to call on my wholesale accounts and to deliver some handblown glass hummingbird suncatchers to one of my favorite little stores, the Velvet Otter.

The Velvet Otter is a quaint little antique/gift store on Highway 62 out at Inspiration Point.  For many years, it was a glass shop owned and operated by a lampwork glassblower by the name of Jerry Driggers.  I loved visiting his shop as a kid, watching him blow glass and often watching the sunset out his back windows overlooking the White River.  It's a picture perfect place.

Periodically I get to missing Eureka Springs and I have to get my fix.  I had been experiencing withdrawals of late and so it was time to return for a bit.  My trip was shorter than expected.  After I got there, I just wasn't feeling it.

It's a beautiful place and if you've never visited it you should.  It's a wonderful little Victorian Village out of the late 1800's sprinkled with hippies, artists, spiritualists, religious fundamentalists, survivalists, motorcyclists, poets, writers, romantics, and misfits of various kinds.  Just about everyone will find something to love in Eureka Springs.  I certainly have.

It has many beautiful Victorian homes in the downtown area that rival the great Painted Ladies of San Francisco even and it has a very interesting and eclectic shopping district full of artists, craftspeople, and unique shops.

It's a place to see for sure and one that I will have returned to some day if time allows.  I've visited Eureka Springs on and off throughout my life, I've loved there from time to time, I've lived there for about a year, and had art galleries there over the years but it's the springs that will always call me back.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Bear Mountain Apparition

A happening from several years ago November 24, 2012...

I live on Bear Mountain in Eureka Springs Arkansas. Tonight I was enamored with the evening fall sky and thought I’d take a few pictures off of our front deck which looks down the mountain into the woods. There’s nothing in the woods except trees really, no structures or anything man made that is. Just beyond the trees in the front yard it drops off from a ledge and then slopes and meanders eventually down to a creek but even on the best of days you can’t see that from the house.

Tonight after I shot several pics and downloaded them on my computer I was looking at which ones to keep and which ones to discard. I’m not the best photographer around but usually half of my shots come out as passable with a very few coming out very good. I noticed one of two shots I took in almost rapid succession that displayed something strangely different. They were shot a couple seconds apart, just enough for me to change the frame just a little bit.

In the first picture there was nothing out of the ordinary and in the second one there was what looked to be like a glowing face (male?) with a distinct halo. Now, I must point out that I have never in my life ever captured anything on film that was remotely paranormal and it hasn’t been for lack of interest on my part but I’m just not your camera toting ghost hunting kind of person.

I also must tell you that Eureka Springs Arkansas is one of the most haunted places in the country, so say the folks who are in the know, whoever they are! We have the Crescent Hotel which is on the national register of haunted places and apparitions are seen all over the area with some frequency. I myself have never seen any and believe me, as children we looked! We did feel cold spots and such but never any kind of corporeal manifestations. I even stayed the weekend in the most haunted rooms at the Crescent to no avail.

But tonight, I think that all changed…

Look at these two pictures. I hope they uploaded to the blog as clearly as they show on my computer. If you look in the lower right quadrant of the second picture you will see the apparition. If you look closely, and the quality holds on the website, you should be able to make out a face, a strong hairline, and a definitive halo. Maybe a saint?! Who knows but it has sparked my enthusiasm!

Here’s the picture with the apparition.

This third picture is a cropping that I did of the apparition. It shows up okay but there is some digital distortion. I’m not an expert at dealing with digital pictures and I apologize for my lack of ability. Maybe, just maybe, if you look hard enough you can see what I’m talking about. Click on the picture and you can view it full size and zoom in to see what I see.

Well, there you have it, my experience with an apparition on Bear Mountain in Eureka Springs Arkansas. I’ll be keeping my camera by the door and shooting lots of frames as time allows. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll catch something else. Tomorrow I’ll go chat with some of the old timers and see what they may know about the history here on Bear Mountain!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Blessing of the Kindling

I awoke to a cold, drizzly, blue, misty morning here on Bear Mountain. I was immediately reminded of two things. We have entered into that “blue time of the year” in terms of not only the church calendar but also in respect to the depression that haunts many folks during the holidays.

Every now and then the fire within weakens and we are left with a cold hearth and a fading memory of warmth and happiness. Please take the time to make a difference in someones life, take the time to care, and take the time to let them know you care. Help kindle their fire anew that the flame of love my grow and radiate within their lives and then spread its warmth to those around them.

Blessing of the Kindling

From the Carmina Gadelica

I will kindle my fire this morning
In presence of the holy angels of heaven,
In presence of Ariel of the loveliest form,
In presence of Uriel of the myriad charms,
Without malice, without jealousy, without envy,
Without fear, without terror of any one under the sun,
But the Holy Son of God to shield me.
Without malice, without jealousy, without envy,
Without fear, without terror of any one under the sun
But the Holy Son of God to shield me.

God, kindle Thou in my heart within
A flame of love to my neighbour,
To my foe, to my friend, to my kindred all,
To the brave, to the knave, to the thrall,
O Son of the loveliest Mary,
From the lowliest thing that liveth,
To the Name that is highest of all.
O Son of the loveliest Mary,
From the lowliest thing that liveth,
To the Name that is highest of all.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Open Doors

Again I find myself coming back to the theme of returning home and whether returning to a place is actually going backwards or rather a forward movement from another direction.

Eureka Springs was not my childhood hometown, that was Springfield Missouri, but I spent enough time there that I feel a kindred spirit to the funky, quaint, artsy alpine hamlet of queers and fundamentalists alike.

I spent much of the day there today and realized that feeling of belonging still hasn't left me. It's one of the very few places or perhaps the only place I have ever felt like I belonged.

I started the morning making my rounds peddling hummingbird suncatchers to several wholesale accounts. It was a beautiful day but offered the promise of getting very hot. My first couple of stops were on Bear Mountain, the mountain I lived on while residing just outside of Eureka when I made the great exodus from the netherworld called Branson Missouri.

My day was a little off kilter simply because I had planned to meet someone for lunch and when that person canceled I planned to take someone else with me on my journey but sadly that wasn't to be either. Fate or folly intervened and I was on my own, footloose and fancy free. Good enough.

I thought I'd stop for brunch at a restaurant favored by another friend of mine who has since abandoned me and moved to the great Pacific Northwest. While there was a certain familiarity there and thus some comfort, the food had changed and not for the better. Oh, there was plenty of it, just not the quality I was use to in times gone by. Be that as it may, it was sufficient and my sufficiency was fully surrensified.

If it's one thing I can't stand it's selling myself. I would not have made a good male prostitute. I have been a rep for various wholesale lines in my life and never had a problem asking for business but for some reason, when it comes to my work, it's like pulling teeth to get me to walk into a shop and offer them my artwork. Perhaps I am uncomfortable about rejection. Who knows?! So as a result I eagerly finished my chore and sold all of the hummingbirds I had with me. I laid the ground work for some follow-up orders and then went off exploring a town near and dear to my heart.

Now for me, exploring Eureka Springs is like someone exploring the back of their hand. I have been all over that town over these last forty years. Sometimes there's a new shop to see and sometimes someone has painted their house a different color. However, other than those two situations, things seldom change in the little town. Yet again, I wasn't disappointed.

While my outward exploration seldom offers anything new I guess I go there for the inward exploration that Eureka Springs offers me personally. It gives me a place from which to gaze backward and then to gaze forward within the realm of familiarity. I did a lot of that while I was there today. I visited many of the springs, spending time at each one in thought and in prayer and visit two of them at least twice before I packed up my doll rags and headed home to Fayetteville.

Living in Fayetteville and spending a lot of time on the bike trails I take a lot of pictures. Few are ever inspiring to me, though I try and I try. I have spent two years in Fayetteville trying to get a "sunbeam" picture and have yet to do it. In Eureka today, the opportunities were limitless and I took advantage of several of them. What I ended up with were some pretty inspiring pics, for me anyway.

My only frustration in the whole day was when a family visited my favorite spring. They were loud and very out of place visiting an underground spring. They cried about spiders, the cold, the dampness, and they poked fun at the sacredness of the space by blowing out the candles that usually burn twenty-four seven, lights that shine in the darkness, lit by loving folk.

As if that wasn't enough, they lit up and smoked cheap cigarettes in the spring. I had to spend some time praying down my wrath. I hope they had a pleasant visit but in the words of Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that.

While I was visiting, I was also calling about various shops for lease, partially out of habit and partially out of simple curiosity because you never know. I was just heading up Mountain Street to where I had parked the Blackbird when my phone rang. It was a shop I had called about earlier in the day. The landlord was a venerable shop owner in Eureka Springs with whom I have spent several hundred dollars in years gone by. He wanted to show me the space I had called about. I trotted back down Mountain Street to Spring Street and made my way over to the shop for lease.

Not only was the shop space perfect but the landlord was very gracious and solicitous of me and my artwork, thinking we were a natural for the little burgh. I have to admit that it was and indeed is tempting. The space itself is perfect in many different aspects. I couldn't ask for a better space for the money. What's perhaps even more important, I couldn't ask for a better landlord. A door has definitely been thrown wide open for me and all I have to do is walk through. The temptation is great.

So now I ponder on what direction my future is to embark upon. My dear mentor, Fr. Martin, told me to always watch for open doors and so I have. This last year I have had door after door slam shut in my face, many of them personal, a couple of them ministerial, and some of them professional. Much of my life has changed as a result but I have yet to experience an open door in the last two years. Today's experience was a clear and present open door invitation and I don't take that lightly. I don't yet know what it means and I don't quite know what I'm going to do but I am definitely paying attention. As I always say, time will tell the story and indeed time is a great tool of discernment.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Can You Ever Go Home?

Can you ever go home? Conventional wisdom seems to say no, you can never go home. Such wisdom would suggest that once you leave, things change and try as you might it's awful hard to find your way back to that which you left. Such is the state in which I find myself...

I visited Eureka Springs Arkansas today, as I had an order of blown glass hummingbird suncatchers to deliver to a shop over in that neck of the woods. It was a gorgeous day, even it it was a tad bit on the sultry side and the drive through the Ozarks Mountains was refreshing and inspiring as always. I concluded my business in the afternoon and headed to Eureka Springs to try and entice a few shop keepers and gallery owners to purchase some of my art work. 

Eureka Springs is a little Victorian oasis nestled on the side of Crescent Mountain in the Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas. Now, truthfully, Eureka encompasses more than the historic loop which winds its way up to the top of Crescent Mountain but that's the heart of the hidden little hamlet.

It's rich in history, eccentricity, art, crafts, Christian fundamentalism, commercialism, beautiful geography, magical springs, Pagans, Wiccans, Faerie, hippies, nudists, and it's as queer as a three dollar bill! It has been called the San Francisco of the Ozarks and rightfully so, what's more, it flies its colors with pride. We even have our own version of the Golden Gate Bridge!

Eureka has been a tourist town since, well, forever I suspect, and over the years the demographics of the tourists that visit, as well as those folks who call it home, have changed as the times have changed but it's always been a melting pot of sorts. The factions have lived in civility for the most part and blended nicely to make a flavorful soup. We are, after all, Southerners, and that counts for something. And like that statement, Eureka isn't always what it appears to be at any given glance and you have to peel layer after layer to sometimes get to the heart of the artichoke. Are we talking about artichoke soup?

What's more, with perhaps one exception, I have always taken the loves of my life to Eureka Springs, of which there have been several. It's like some sort of romantic rite of passage for relationships of mine. I've been married in Eureka Springs and I've honeymooned in Eureka Springs, not with the same spouse both times. The one exception to this eros-sian rendezvous was a wonderful girl who lived in Michigan and with whom I fell madly in love one frigid evening in downtown Chicago. We were teenagers at a high school journalism conference, loose in the city, looking for adventure, and we found one another. It was teenage love but alas we never made it to Eureka Springs together. Who knows what would have happened had we made that pilgrimage of the heart?! Probably charges of kidnapping and transporting a minor over state lines or some such nonsense but that's another story.

I think I've explored every square inch of Eureka Springs and most of it multiple times. It's my go to place when life is being life and not what I think life should be. It's my place to regroup, to rethink, to re-purpose, to reevaluate, and somehow I always manage to find myself again when I visit. Perhaps it's because I left a little part of my heart there forty years ago when, as a child, I discovered the magical place of my dreams.

The Eureka of today is somewhat different than the Eureka of my childhood. The "dragon trees" are still there and the candy store where we would procure the giant jawbreakers is still there - with a taffy machine in the window working on the same pull of taffy it was working on all those years ago. I've had a love affair with that city for perhaps forty years. The Eureka today though has become a mecca for the motorcyclists and not just a couple of them, all of them. Of all the different folks who have taken up with Eureka Springs, the motorcyclists are my least favorite. Not that I don't care for them as people, though there are some who try my inclusive little heart, but I hate the noise pollution. The noise alone shatters the sacred and unhinges the heart.

Anyway, I ventured back today, partly because I wanted to hit up the shops and galleries for some business, partly because it was a beautiful day and like a homing pigeon on such days, I just head that direction, and partly because life has been kicking me around a bit lately and I needed some time to be there. I didn't spend nearly enough time there and plan to go back in two days to spend more time.

A couple of years ago I fulfilled a dream to move to Eureka Springs. I had always wanted to live there and just knew that if I ever did, I would be in heaven. I really did love it and maybe more than I realized at the time but for several reasons, none of which I'll go into in this blog post, after a year of living in Eureka Springs on Bear Mountain, I moved on to Fayetteville Arkansas, a place I call the Promised Land.

Since that move I have toyed with moving back to Eureka Springs. It always calls to me and has always done so. I suspect it will never be silent, being a place that resonates with my soul on some deep level. Today when I was there I kicked around where my old studio use to be and to my surprise it was empty - my heart fluttered! Could it be? Could I move back and have my old studio again? Really? Oh, it seemed too good to be true and it was. 

The complex where my studio had been is now owned by Harley-Davidson. Across from where my quaint little Victorian studio was now sits a big fat in-your-face Harley-Davidson shop flanked by a smoke shop, a tattoo parlor, and Bud's Beers and Brauts. What's more, half the parking lot was dedicated to "motorcycles only" and had been sectioned off with gates and warning signs. Hardly the neighborhood for me. The noise alone with drive me to fits.

My heart sank...and I left...I really couldn't go home after all.

After that rather shocking discovery I made pilgrimage to the Holy Hill where I visited some dear friends at a delightful place called Hillspeak, an Episcopal retreat center of sorts with books galore. I was blessed with the most delightful conversations and I had a particularly wonderful conversation, as is always the case, with one very dear friend. She is perhaps one of my most favorite people in my beloved little alpine village and we laughed and carried on as only we know how to do. By the time I left I had almost forgotten about the motorcycle scourge that is spreading throughout Eureka, almost.

I'll return in a couple of days and I plan on giving the Harley people a wide berth. I'll wander the Carthage stone streets, climb the hills, and visit the sacred springs. I doubt I could go back to live but I will go to visit my heart.